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  4. Court slaps fine on Assam CM, wife for not appearing in MCC violation case

Court slaps fine on Assam CM, wife for not appearing in MCC violation case

Before accepting the joint plea by the two, there was a bit drama in the courtroom with the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) A K Baruah issuing a bailable warrant (of Rs 1,000 each) against Sarma and his wife as they failed to appear and there was no representation on their behalf till 10:55 am.

PTI Reported by: PTI Guwahati Updated on: February 25, 2022 23:42 IST
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma
Image Source : PTI

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma 

Highlights

  • The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Kamrup Metropolitan slapped a fine of Rs 2,000 on Assam CM.
  • CM's advocate reached the courtroom later at 11 am and submitted two petitions on their behalf.
  • Sarma's wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma is the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Assamese news channel.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Kamrup Metropolitan on Friday slapped a fine of Rs 2,000 on Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma while accepting their plea to defer appearance in a case related to alleged violation of model code of conduct during Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

Before accepting the joint plea by the two, there was a bit drama in the courtroom with the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) A K Baruah issuing a bailable warrant (of Rs 1,000 each) against Sarma and his wife as they failed to appear and there was no representation on their behalf till 10:55 am.

However, the duo's advocate reached the courtroom later at 11 am and submitted two petitions on their behalf.

In the first petition, Sarma and his wife prayed for adjournment to give more time and also requested furnishing of copies of documents not yet received from the complainant. The second plea was for recalling the warrant.

The advocate of the accused mentioned that the Chief Minister was busy with the visit of the President of India to Assam, while his wife was also busy with her pre-fixed engagements.

"...to do justice to both the parties, the prayer of the two accused for allowing adjournment for four weeks time for appearance is partly allowed on condition of payment of cost of Rs 2,000," the court order said.

The Judge also recalled the warrant, against them "on condition that the two accused will appear before this Court on next date" and fixed March 21 for their appearance.

The case was filed by the Additional Chief Electoral Officer in May 2019 against Sarma, who was a minister holding several portfolios in former chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal's government, and News Live TV Channel for allegedly violating model code of conduct (MCC) in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Sarma's wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma is the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Assamese news channel.

Baruah in an order on February 11 had asked both to appeare on February 25.

In his order on February 11, the CJM had noted that according to the complaint, the two accused, Sarma and the News Live Channel owned by Pride East Entertainments Pvt Ltd represented by the then Chairman-cum-Managing Director, had prima facie violated the MCC of Lok Sabha election.

The channel, had telecast a live interview of the present chief minister "at 7.55 PM on April 10, 2019, that is within 48 hours of the 1st Phase of Polls scheduled on April 11, 2019".

The Election Department had filed the case after receiving complaints from the then President and General Secretary of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC). 

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